National Programmatic Advertisers: Don’t Miss The Local Opportunity

frostprioleaurevised“Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Frost Prioleau, CEO and co-founder of

The promise of one-to-one marketing has long been a goal of many advertisers. You could argue that site retargeting efforts achieve one-to-one in programmatic by targeting users based on the precise products, flights or other services that have been researched by targeted users.

For upper-funnel campaigns, however, including outreach and prospecting, many national advertisers find themselves at the opposite end of the spectrum from one-to-one marketing.

In many cases, national campaigns use audience segments that are built on a national scale. Advertisers with national audience segments have a big opportunity to improve results and move closer to one-to-one marketing by customizing their campaigns to localized needs and tastes.

Keyword Results Sway According To Locale

Search marketers have long known that localizing paid search campaigns increases performance. By customizing their audience targeting, ad copy and landing pages to local needs, they make campaigns more relevant and effective and drive improved ROI. This is especially true for marketers whose businesses have multiple locations, such as auto dealers, franchisees, quick service restaurants, local service providers and retailers.

For evidence of how local tastes can vary from market to market, use the Google Keyword Planner to research the most commonly searched terms related to any topic in a particular location.

For example, the most popular car model keywords relating to “Toyota” in Palo Alto, Calif., include two fuel-efficient cars and no trucks:

  • Prius – a hybrid model
  • Highlander – a mid-size SUV
  • Corolla – a compact model

Compare that to the most popular car model keywords relating to “Toyota” in Fort Worth, Texas, which includes two trucks and no compact or fuel-efficient cars:

  • Highlander – a mid-size SUV
  • Tundra – a full-size truck
  • Tacoma – a mid-size truck

Clearly, users searching for “Toyota” in Palo Alto want smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, while users in Fort Worth are looking for bigger vehicles with hauling capacity. A national audience segment that targets some average of these two cities wouldn’t be optimized for either, therefore wasting advertising dollars.

In addition to different Toyota models, the most popular keywords in both locations could include local dealership names, which also wouldn’t be part of most national audience segments.

Consider Local Audiences, Creative And Budgets

National advertisers can take advantage of differences in tastes, competitors and needs in various local markets by localizing their national campaigns via audiences, creative and budgets.

Instead of relying on one or a handful of national audience segments to target prospects everywhere in the country, audiences should be customized and continually optimized throughout a campaign to meet the needs of the individual locations where a campaign is targeted. Best practice is often to break up national campaigns into dozens or hundreds of more targeted campaigns that tailor to local needs, competitors and nomenclature.

Like other types of ad personalization, ad units that incorporate a localized pitch often outperform national ads. By customizing ad creatives to show local store information or include local tastes, advertisers can drive better performance.

Many national campaigns contain no controls on how much budget is spent in which parts of the country. This works fine in many industries, such as online retailing, as it makes sense to optimize spending to the locations where there is the greatest return. However, for many businesses with physical locations, it is important to ensure that spending, impressions and clicks are allocated to individual stores, franchisee groups or marketing regions. Breaking up national campaigns into individual campaigns that correspond to each entity or localized group can achieve the proper spending allocations.

In many ways, programmatic advertising has followed the development path of search marketing. This is for good reason, as search marketing has historically had the highest ROI of any online paid advertising. National advertisers looking to take the next step to improve their results can take another clue from search marketers and start localizing their campaigns.

Follow Frost Prioleau (@phrossed), (@Simpli_fi) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

Enjoying this content?

Sign up to be an AdExchanger Member today and get unlimited access to articles like this, plus proprietary data and research, conference discounts, on-demand access to event content, and more!

Join Today!